Parasound's Awesome Z Series

Parasound’s compact, high-value Z Series includes the 45Wpc Zamp power amplifier, four-input Zpre2 two-channel preamp, Ztuner AM/FM tuner, Zphono-USB phono preamp ($350; reviewed in our March issue), and the impressive Zcd CD player ($399; review to come later this year).

I’m a big fan of these products. They’re smart, attractive, solidly built, and, from what I’ve heard so far, they sacrifice little in performance. The Zphono-USB, in fact, remains my reference phono preamplifier, eliciting the sort of drama, impact, and scale from my records that I didn’t realize was possible.

While earlier Z models’ half-width, rack-mount design made obvious their pro-audio/custom-install provenance, select models are now available in a handsome silver chassis.